Tuesday, May 26, 2015
“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (Habakkuk 1:5 KJV).
What does today’s Scripture mean, and how can it explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
The Prophet Habakkuk had a ministry during the reign of King Josiah (640-609 B.C.). Habakkuk preached a few decades before the Babylonian armies besieged Jerusalem and burned God’s Temple. The verse immediately following today’s Scripture says: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.”
JEHOVAH God gave Judah (the southern kingdom) ample time to repent, to change their mind and quit worshipping idols. She obstinately persisted in false religion. Now, the fifth course of judgment was impending. Using Gentiles, God would remove Israel from His Promised Land (Leviticus 26:27-39). The Jews would be “among the heathen” (today’s Scripture). Note, Habakkuk spoke as though it had already happened. Israel would now be among the nations, set aside by God. Still, as Habakkuk said, they persisted in unbelief. They refused to believe God’s Word to them.
Paul quoted today’s Scripture to conclude his first recorded sermon in the Bible. Reading from Acts chapter 13, “ Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”
After extensively rehearsing Israel’s history from Abraham to Jesus Christ (verses 14-39), Paul quoted today’s Scripture. He warned unbelieving Israel in that synagogue he was visiting, that they were now among the Gentiles, set aside (paralleling Habakkuk’s message). As God’s spokesman to them, Paul told Israel that they were still in unbelief (paralleling Habakkuk’s message), and they needed to turn from such error and trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Unbelieving Israel harassed and contradicted Paul throughout the rest of his ministry, further validating Habakkuk’s prophecy in his own day. The Bible is an amazing Book!